[ kris-muhs ]

  1. the annual festival of the Christian church commemorating the birth of Jesus: celebrated on December 25 and now generally observed as a legal holiday and, for many, an occasion for exchanging gifts.

  1. of or relating to Christmas; made or displayed for Christmas: six batches of Christmas cookies;a Christmas movie for the whole family.

Origin of Christmas

First recorded before 1050; Middle English cristmas(se); Old English Cristes mǣsse Mass of Christ

Other words from Christmas

  • Christ·mas·sy, Christ·mas·y, adjective
  • post-Christ·mas, adjective
  • pre-Christ·mas, adjective

Words Nearby Christmas Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use Christmas in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Christmas


/ (ˈkrɪsməs) /

    • the annual commemoration by Christians of the birth of Jesus Christ on Dec 25

    • Also called: Christmas Day Dec 25, observed as a day of secular celebrations when gifts and greetings are exchanged

    • (as modifier): Christmas celebrations

  1. Also called: Christmas Day (in England, Wales and Ireland) Dec 25, one of the four quarter days: Compare Lady Day, Midsummer's Day, Michaelmas

  1. Also called: Christmastide the season of Christmas extending from Dec 24 (Christmas Eve) to Jan 6 (the festival of the Epiphany or Twelfth Night)

Origin of Christmas

Old English Crīstes mæsse Mass of Christ

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for Christmas


A festival commemorating the birth of Jesus, traditionally celebrated on December 25 by most Western Christian churches. Although dating to probably as early as a.d. 200, the feast of Christmas did not become widespread until the Middle Ages. Today, Christmas is largely secularized and dominated by gifts, decorated trees, and a jolly Santa Claus.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.